Saturday, May 27, 2006

Iran & the US: Direct talks toward what ends?

Kash Kheirkhah

As I reported in my previous post, the Bush administration is under a great deal of pressure these days to engage in direct talks with the Iranian regime. Even former secretary of states, Henry Kissinger joined the fray a few days ago, calling Ahmadinejad's letter " a sign that Tehran may want to settle the nuclear row "and urging President Bush to follow up on that letter.

What I don't understand here is that how such talks are possible at all when there exists a leadership in Iran which times and again openly calls for the destruction of another nation, orders the arrest, imprisonment and torture of Iranian intellectuals and journalists, cries out loud that it hates Western ideals and democracy, funds the terrorist groups in the Middle east and most importantly, blames all its shortcomings and incompetence on a hypothetical enemy called "The Great Satan?"

Under these circumstances, what purpose can such talks serve if the Iranian regime continues to do and say what it has been doing and saying for the past 27 years? What results did three years of negotiations between the EU3 and Iran bring about? Most of all, what issues of substance could ever be found in the 16-page diatribe Ahmadinejad sent to Bush that can practically be followed up on?

I personally see the recent overtures of the Iranian regime toward the US as another political chicanery meant to buy more time for the Iranian regime and string the current US administration along until it is out of office. Facing a deepening economic crisis inside and growing international pressure outside, the Iranian leadership is trying to play the same game it did with the Europeans for three years, during which it managed to develop its nuclear program while fooling the world into thinking the negotiations were working.

The regime in Iran sees the US "regime change" policy as the biggest threat yet to its existence and will do anything--even if anything means negating the past revolutionary ideals for a while--to survive this political whirlpool. But as Tony Blair rightly mentioned in George Town University, the world will not breathe a sigh of relief until Iran changes and that change will never occur unless the current regime in Iran is over and done with.

There can't be a middle ground between negotiations and 'regime change'. The US should choose one.